on 12 January 2011
In short: If you are thinking of getting one, get one.
It fulfils a needs I did not even know that I needed. A touch screen iPod? Whats the point? Whats wrong with a click wheel? After all, you don't need to look at the screen whislt you are listening to music.
Oh, but the iPod Touch is so, so much more. It is basically a PDA, almost to the point of negating the need for a netbook. I bought mine so I could fit all my music onto my iPod (all the Nanos are too small in capacity) and for the internet and Apps. Browsing the internet on this thing is beautiful. Such a tactile intimacy with the information you are reading. Double tap and the iPod will scale the column you are reading to the screen. Pinch to zoom in and out. Page scrolls are smooth and the momentum is just right. Browsing is fast and is a joy for when you want to quickly check a fact or find out some information. It really makes you realise the true value of the iPad. It makes sense, it is a joy to use. Apple have nailed this.
Apps are wonderful. Simply wonderful. The iPod is worth it just for Apps without a contract iPhone. There literally is an app for everything. IMDB, eBay, Amazon, Paypal, BBC News, Cineworld are a few useful ones off the top of my head that really streamline your search for information. As the iPod unlocks so quickly and is instantly connected to you Wifi, you can find out information in just moments. So effortless compared to a desktop computer, even a netbook. In eBay for example, you can list an item by scanning a barcode, check your auctions, browse and bid.. the functionality in many apps is very rich and makes checking things on the go and in a hurry a total breeze. In many cases, I'd rather browse on the Ipod than on my netbook, as the interface is just so fluent and such a joy to use. There are apps for fitness tracking, diets and lifestyle, personal finance managing, and many of them are free or of a negligible price.
I laughed when people said that iOS would overtake the DS and PSP for portable gaming. How can you plays serious games without buttons? Well, I haven't touched my DS in months. The app Store has reinvigorated portable gaming for me. Games cost £3 or under, rather than £15 plus. There is oodless of variety and enjoyment to be had here and I love the creativity that is present in some indie games that you so rarely find on the DS and PSP. Plants vs Zombies, Chu Chu Rocket, Cut the Rope, Infinty Blade, Eliss, Pix'N Rush, Doodlejump.. these games are so addictive you just cannot put them down, and they were all so very cheap compared to retail DS and PSP releases. And I have suddenly realised that buttons are not a necessity. They may help- but the touchscreen is allowing for new innovation and gaming experiences. If they get this into kid's hands, maybe start selling prepaid game cards in Gamestation (removing the need for a debit card on file), I can see them effortlessly overtaking Nintendo and Sony. The App store is brimming with innovation and fun to be had, even if you don't want to pay anything. It goes without saying, there is also lots of advert-ridden and feature-poor apps there, but generally just read the reviews and stay in the top lists and you will be fine.
The free 'Find my iPod' service is a nice touch. Register it, and from a PC you can locate your iPod, send it a message, or even erase it. It pinpointed mine down to my exact street location.
The screen is amazing. Well, not quite as amazing as the iPhone 4, which has IPS so that the colours look the same at any angle. The iPod Touch's screen will distort in colour even at a relatively low angle but it never presents as much of an issue really. A high resolution might not sound like it is needed, but it can eliminate the need to zoom in on webpages as the text remains clear and readable even when it is tiny- provided your eyesight is good enough! Apps not optimised for the new display can look blocky and pixelated but it is never so bad as to make them unusable.
The internal speaker is passable with enough volume for games but not enough clarity for extended music listening. The camera is better than nothing. I like how it means iPod Touch users can now use the same apps as iPhone users- including the barcode scanners. It is grainy and doesn't give great results, but it is good enough for the apps that need it and the occasional photo which is all I ask. The volume keys and power key are in good positions and give a good positive click.
:Update: Oh, and yeah, it plays music. This is the last feature I tried ;) It sounds amazing. Music seems 'fuller' and 'punchier' than with my old Nano 4g. Stereo separation seems better with the same earphones.. I'm hearing noises in my music that I don't think I would have been able to pick out on the Nano, it makes me almost pop my earphone out because I think it is an outside sound! I cannot be objective on this, but I swear down the Touch pulls out sounds that I never heard on my old Nano- even through the same earphones. The iPod produces smooth, resounding bass, crisp highs, and overall a balanced sound. I worried maybe Apple forgot the iPod's core reason-to-be- no way is that the case. Also, it is a joy being able to search for music by typing it in =) Oh, and the included Apple earphones fit nicely into a bin. I highly recommend the Creative in-ear earphones that retail on Amazon for around a tenner as they are affordable and great sounding. The sound is amazing. It brings a smile to my face, and that is really saying something. The iPod excels at music playback, giving you an amazing listening experience.
There are a few reasons. however, keeping it from achieving total perfection but these should not detract from your desire to buy one. I updated this review from 4 stars to 5 stars to reflect that I think this product does not suffer from these nitpicks.
The first issue is the dependency on iTunes, a bloated and shameful piece of software. Managing music is a total chore as the interface works against you at every click. For example, in Media Player, you can CTRL+V and down arrow your way down a list, pasting as you go to make many changes quickly. iTunes won't allow this, and also enjoys dumping you at the start of your library as you navigate backwards, rather than returning you to your previous position. It also needs mummying with album artwork, oeftn refusing to find album artwork from CDS you have imported yourself after ripping elsewhere. You need to shift+click a whole album, press get info, and then drag artwork in. Which then takes a while to process. Why not just drag it onto the first song? Well, iTunes is so thick that it only applys it to that one song. Since when did different tracks on an album have different cover artwork? Overall, though, it is bearable because the iPod Touch is worth it. Get a big one, sync all your music on there, and then touch iTunes as little as possible.
It is so easily scratched. Put it on a hard surface, it will get cuffed. Case us basically a necessity if you do not want any scratches, thankfully a silicone one will do and not make it much bigger.
The battery life is not stunning. Whilst I cannot vouch for music playback, playing games will easily, easily kill it in a handful of hours. As such, a charger is basically a necessity unless you are always near a PC to charge it. Of course, Apple do not include one. I highly recommend you budget for an official Apple charger (beware fakes). I use mine for other USB devices also, such as my TomTom. Worth the purchase, and it also comes with the USB lead which gives you a handy extra.
My screen is slightly yellower in tone than my sister's. I know not all screens are created equal, and it is ever so slight. But some more consistency in manufacturing quality would perhaps be beneficial. It really is at the point where the difference is so slight that only I can tell. Everyone else just says I'm fussy. And they're probably right.
No flash. Yes, I know it is a battery killer, buggy and the likes, but it prevents me from viewing video on some websites which the necessitates the use of my netbook. It would be good at least as an option. Perhaps click to activate it in a webpage that requires it would be an elegant solution.
Overall, the device represents the future. Simplified for the masses, but feature rich, a joy to use, and insanely helpful. My netbook used to see constant use for fact-checking and the likes. It now sits looking scornfully at the iPod in almost constant use.